Many, many golfers and Golf Channel viewers have stepped up to send golf balls to Iraq, where soldiers, sailors, Marines and other personnel hit them in their down time to relieve the stress of a difficult 'sometimes disheartening ' mission.
In my column from September 16, I introduced you to Capt. David Sifferd, an Army Reserve chaplain stationed in Iraq. David, an old high school friend of mine, was characteristically thinking of others when he answered an e-mail in which I had asked what he needed over there.
I can really get most everything I need here, David said, except for golf balls. If you run across any groups that might want to donate old used golf balls, could you send me the address? I have a few clubs in my office that I let soldiers use to hit balls into the field behind our headquarters. Problem is that they are usually irretrievable. Great stress relief, though!
I put the word out, and golf responded. Some generous folks e-mailed me to report on their efforts. Heres a tip-of-the-iceberg sample.
I read you article concerning Capt. Sifferd. It was an answer to my wife's prayer. Golf balls all over the place (31 lbs.).They arrived rather quickly in Iraq and Chaplain Sifferd responded with a thank-you letter. John Vener
My friend worked some magic. Between a group of golfers, her husband's hunting buddies, and a bowling league (elderly ladies on fixed incomes, no less), she collected enough donations to mail around 2000 golf balls. What an accomplishment! This eliminated the golf course's collection of old range balls, so we're working now to gather more. My son is also serving in Iraq, so I find it especially comforting and encouraging to see such awesome support from so many segments of our civilian population. Elizabeth Radabaugh
Your article hit home because my son, Lt. Douglas Huttenlocker, just returned from Sather AFB in Baghdad and one of the photos he sent me was him hitting golf balls in the desert while in his Air Force desert uniform. I hope others are doing this for our troops as well. Kudos to you and Capt. Sifferd! John Huttenlocker, North Tonawanda, N.Y.
I have a soldier deployed with [Capt. Sifferd] and forwarded your article to the parents of the other soldier in the picture. What fun to see our guys! I sent them a bucket of balls (and tees) a week or so ago...maybe others will send more. Laurie Weissbrod
Here I am, supposedly a grizzled old soldier, with over 24 years in the Army.and your article put a lump in my throat! You hit Chaplain Sifferds character and mannerisms to a 'tee!' Thank you for helping David take care of these troops out here in harms way. Hooah! Command Sgt. Major Jim Allen,
Camp Victory, Iraq
Ive got 200 balls headed to Captain Sifferd. My son served in Iraq and thank God, came home in one piece. I appreciate what Captain Sifferd and all of our troops do and 200 golf balls is the least that I can do. Thanks. Gary Ward,
I work part time as a ranger at a nearby course and have a five gallon bucket filled with golf balls I've found while making my rounds. My wife keeps asking me what I'm going to do with them. Now I have a perfect place for them. God bless our troops. I'm a Vietnam Vet and know all about stress relief when you're many thousands of miles from home and in harm's way to boot. Bill Monger, Brighton, Mich.
To save shipping costs, I took a bag containing about 20 dozen used golf balls and I threw in an old sand wedge and 7-wood and dropped them off at the local Marine Corps recruiting station. They agreed to send them overseas to their troops in Iraq. In addition, I put one local course in touch with an Army recruiter so that they could donate their used range balls to the troops. The recruiter agreed to pick them up at the course and get them shipped overseas. I think this is a great way to help support the troops regardless of our political beliefs or our feelings about the war. Steve Broome, Eugene, Ore.
Mr. Broome solved the problem of shipping costs, which are daunting to some. But every half dozen counts, so theres no package thats too small. If you choose to go the mail route, however many you choose to send, domestic postage rates apply ' the Army takes over once you get the balls to the U.S.-based Army Post Office (APO). Theres a simple customs form to fill out at the post office.
Heres the address again:
CH (CPT) DAVID SIFFERD
15th PSYOP BN
APO AE 09342
Dave has contacted me a number of times, in between his duties as chaplain, to thank us for the parade of boxes that has crossed his desk. Here's an excerpt from the camp newsletter:
'[F]ollowing the article, people from across the country started sending boxes of used golf balls. We've received more than 40 boxes to date. We've also received clubs and other accessories. Even the non-golfers are getting in on the fun. I've set up some old carpets and rubber tees behind our headquarters and soldiers whack away at the balls every day, hitting them into the empty field behind our headquarters. '
And dont worry, the golf industry is getting into the act, too. The folks at Top-Flite, one of Callaway Golfs brands, quietly sent 800 dozen balls over ' quietly, because they werent seeking publicity, just doing the right thing. I promised not to mention the names of the execs responsible ' but they know who they are.
And thanks to the efforts of so many of you, U.S. and Canadian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan know who you are ' golfers. Which is to say, generous lovers of the greatest sport.
Thanks, and keep up the good workuntil those faraway foursome-mates can come home and pat you on the back themselves.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.
The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.
There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18
Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.
With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.
Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.
The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.
In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.